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Josef von Sternberg
Anna May Wong
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Madeleine steals a string of pearls in Paris and uses US engineer Tom, who is driving on his vacation to Spain, to get the pearls out of France, but getting the pearls, back from him proves to be difficult without falling in love. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
John Gilbert was initially cast as Carlos Margoli. Promised to be his comeback role after a string of flops, he filmed a few Technicolor costume tests with Marlene Dietrich (whom he was dating at the time). He had a heart attack in his dressing room only days before shooting started and was immediately replaced by John Halliday. A few days after his abrupt replacement, Gilbert died of alcohol-induced heart failure. Peggy Stallings' "Flesh and Fantasy" states that Gilbert and Dietrich were living together when she tried to use her influence to have him cast opposite her in the film. She withdrew her support when the actor renewed his friendship with former fiancée Greta Garbo. After this, Dietrich renewed her relationship with Gary Cooper, who got the part. Gilbert's fatal heart attack occurred on the same day Cooper's casting was officially announced by Paramount. See more »
Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper show an unexpected flair for romantic comedy that goes into high gear during DESIRE. They are surrounded by some expert supporting players, including Alan Mobray as a doctor who is "taken" by Marlene's sly and crafty jewel thief.
The plot is thin but pleasant and moves at a fast clip with ample chemistry between Dietrich and Cooper more than making up for the slight story. When Dietrich accidentally lets Cooper get away with the pearl necklace she has stolen, she has to follow him and lure him back with some fancy scheming. John Halliday has fun with his role as her consort in crime but it is Alan Mobray who has the plum supporting role as the doctor she so charmingly deceives.
Diverting entertainment with Dietrich expert as the exotic jewel thief under Frank Borzage's direction. The whole picture has such a light touch you'd think it was directed by Ernst Lubitsch.
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